If you own an Android phone and a Windows PC, you’ll soon have one more way to use both devices together to get more done. Rolling out later this year to Windows is a Fast Pair feature for Android phones.
Google’s announcement at CES 2022 comes alongside a number of improvements on how Android devices can connect to your larger ecosystem of tech products.
Fast Pair is already in use and designed to help you set up Bluetooth accessories with your Android device. But now, with support for Chromebooks and Windows, you’ll be able to sync text messages from an Android device and even share files with Nearby Share between Android and Windows.
Google’s Fast Pair Service uses Bluetooth Low Energy to help Android devices discover nearby Bluetooth devices to connect with. Google says Fast Paid does this without sucking up your phone’s battery life, and “enabling ‘magical’ scenarios based on device proximity.” Google has already stated that it’s working with companies like Acer, HP, and Intel on this feature.
“[Fast Pair] enables instant setup and device pairing, bringing up the companion app for installation and transferring your Google credentials,” Google stated in a press release. “We’re continuing our work with partners to further extend Fast Pair’s functionality beyond audio connectivity with wearables, headphones, speakers. and cars and extending it to TVs and smart home devices, so you can instantly start using all the devices in your life.”
Now, if all this sounds familiar, it’s because this is far from the first attempt to better connect Android phones with Windows. Microsoft already has the Your Phone app in Windows 10 and Windows 11, which helps connect Android phones to Windows PCs.
With Your Phone, and the Link to Windows app on Android, you can see your photos, text messages, and even make calls directly from your PC by linking your Android phone to a Microsoft Account. On select devices from Samsung, you even can mirror your Android apps to Windows via Wi-Fi. This is so that you can stay productive with access to Instagram, Snapchat, and other popular services.
Beyond that, Dell also has its own proprietary solution. Dell Mobile Connect is a similar solution to Microsoft’s Your Phone, though it is exclusive to consumer XPS, Alienware, and Inspiron PCs. The app has some of the same functionality as Your Phone on Windows 10 and Windows 11, but also works with iPhones.
In its current state, Your Phone doesn’t allow for syncing of texts and photos or screen mirroring with iPhones. Rather, it just lets you send webpages between an iOS device and a Windows device. Google wasn’t clear if any of the new functionality mentioned today will ever come over to iOS. It remains doubtful due to the locked-down nature of the Apple ecosystem.
This new feature would be just another way to be productive on Windows, as the launch of Windows 11 brought features like Snap Groups, Widgets, and even integration with Microsoft Teams.
According to rumors, heading into 2022, Microsoft is also working to finalize an integration with Android apps and the Amazon App Store. Other things rumored for Windows 11 include a finished dark mode and a bigger focus on support for PCs with ARM-based processors.
- 5G’s big players make bold, exciting predictions for 2022
- This Samsung folding laptop idea is unlike any you’ve seen
- Micron’s new tiny 2TB SSD is bad news for laptop HDDs
- Windows 11 makes some noise with oft-requested design change
- The best laptop bags for 2022